therapeutic diets for petsThere is no denying that the food we eat has an impact on our health, energy, and overall wellbeing. It is, therefore, no surprise that we have found the same to be true for our animal companions. Where once the family Fido was given leftover scraps, or inexpensive commercial kibble, we now find that quality nutrition is important in determining quality of life and longevity.

Prescription diets, or now more often referred to as therapeutic diets, for pets have come a long way since their introduction a few decades ago. But, what does a therapeutic diet offer, versus a commercial diet, and how can it actually benefit your pet?

Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is here to give you some food for thought.

Therapeutic Diets 101

A pet therapeutic diet is one that is formulated to meet the specific needs of your pet. In most cases, these diets are designed to combat and/or prevent diseases that are common to cats and dogs. These diets are clinically studied to weigh certain vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, carbohydrates, and other nutritional components to determine their effect on the disease process.

Prescription Therapeutic Diets vs Commercial Pet Food

Sometimes pet owners come to their veterinarians and ask why they can’t just buy XYZ diet because it has similar claims in improving health. After all, both are touted to improve kidney function, for example. There is a big difference, actually.

True therapeutic foods are those scientifically developed and tested to produce the diet. This is done through analysis of cell structures and ingredients, versus loosely performed clinical trials done by pet food companies, that generally focus solely on taste and digestibility.

Therapeutic diets are therefore more expensive because they contain better quality ingredients and can support their claims specific to the dietary formula. Quality control is also much better than in your average commercial diet found in the pet food aisle.

Common Diseases that Can Be Helped Through Nutrition

Balanced nutrition is vital to all pets, but there are some conditions and diseases that can be helped through veterinary diets. Some of these include:

  • Allergies
  • Kidney disease
  • Orthopedic conditions
  • Endocrine disease, such as diabetes
  • Skin and coat health
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Cystitis/urinary tract disease
  • Weight control
  • Liver disease
  • Dental care

Therapeutic Diets for Pets and You

Special diets may benefit many more pets than not because most pets do deal with conditions that come with aging. If you are wondering if a therapeutic diet is right for your pet, you may consider the following:

  • Has your pet struggled with weight?
  • Are they dealing with bladder stones or urinary tract issues?
  • Have they been diagnosed with kidney, liver, or any other systemic diseases?
  • Is your pet considered senior?
  • Have they had digestive issues?
  • Are they dealing with allergies?

Any one of these problems may signal a need for a specialized diet and your veterinarian should be the first point of contact for in depth recommendations.

Therapeutic diets provide the core of your pet’s nutrition but can also be supplemented with fresh ingredients such as healthy veggies, protein or some fruit. We hope this summary of therapeutic diets for pets has been informative in helping you decide the best course of nutritional support for your furry pal. We are always here to answer any questions! Please feel free to call.